Lord of the Rings Video Games - Compare the Best

The Lord of the Rings is familiar to us all. Some of us may have seen the trilogy twice. As we clearly cannot get enough of it, there are also video games available to relive the story and explore Middle-Earth with different visual narratives. 

This year, Amazon's The Lord of the Rings TV series will send viewers back to Middle-Earth once again. And, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment would let fans get lost in the magical world of J.R.R. Tolkien wherever they go. 


While we all wait, let's have a warm-up and review the past LOTR video games we might have missed. Read on to learn about these video games.

Lord of the Rings Video Games - Compare the Best
Image Source: Looper

The Lords Of The Rings (Text Based Trilogy)

Beam Software decided to take a stab at The Lord of the Rings after making a name for 1982's The Hobbit. Divided into three curiously named entries, the studio could not recover lightning in a bottle. 

The Hobbit's raw tale fits best as a text adventure, as the plot allows you to play with fascinating puzzles in much more generous space. However, this game requires absolute attention to change the story effectively.


The Lord Of The Rings: Middle-Earth Defense

This is the first mobile game based on Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings! The Lord of the Rings: Middle-Earth Defense, released in 2010, remains the best and brightest of this often underwhelming group of adaptations. 

Glu Mobile wisely simplified many of the basic concepts associated with the genre by relying on the tower defense craze. 

In some ways, Middle-Earth Defense serves as a fantastic tutorial for anyone trying to dip their toes into this standard combat style. Split into 18 different stages, seeing Gandalf wipe out waves of orcs is beyond satisfying!


The Hobbit (1982)

Beam Software was published in 1982 and took the first shot at Tolkien's source material. While many sought to mimic The Hobbit's success, decades had to pass before any would even reach the same degree of success. 

Phrases such as "innovative" or "game-changing" seem to be an overstatement, but the Hobbit deserves such praise. 

Beam Software developed one of the most important games of all time by creating a parser device capable of comprehending complex commands and boasting an ever-changing universe packed with three-dimensional non-playable characters.

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor

One of the best releases today, this game fills the void of 60 years separating The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Telling from a Gondor ranger's viewpoint, which comes back to life after succumbing to Sauron's powers.

This game's biggest claim to fame is his exciting Nemesis scheme, which adds a personal touch to the single-player campaign. The poor storyline is undoubtedly the Achilles heel of the title, but the graphics and gameplay are more than just taking up for the slack. 

The gameplay shares near similarities with the Arkham series of Rocksteady, while Shadow of Mordor provides enough creativity to make an effort worth it.

War In Middle Earth

This remarkably robust real-time strategy game, released in 1988, loyally recreates Tolkien's influential trilogy. Split into huge army fights and lower levels of character, Melbourne House packed the game with more than enough material to deserve the name of The Lord of the Rings

The War comes down to nothing more than a battle of numbers, with countless stats thrown at the player. Despite these critiques, for it's period, War in Middle Earth remains remarkable.

The Lord Of The Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Video Games - Compare the Best
Image Source: Steam

Opened in 2007 and refusing to miss a beat, The Lord of the Rings Online is the definitive take on Tolkien's lore by gaming. Despite celebrating its 10th anniversary recently, Turbine's MMORPG continues to be among the most visually appealing outings of the genre. 

Divided into 25 different areas, this Middle-Earth is in constant flux; for example, the title's current expansion occurs after The War of the Ring. 

If Tolkien wrote the book on grand adventures set in a dark and grim world, The Lord of the Rings Online shows the infinite possibilities that any developer willing to accept the writer's universe has to offer.


Nevertheless, all these took time to develop and are considered precious. Not all who wander are lost, but some of these games should have been.